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Thread: Were the Mechanists Decopunk?

  1. #1
    New Member
    Registered: Aug 2019
    Location: Space Station 3

    Were the Mechanists Decopunk?



    T2 gave me the distinct impression that the Metal Age was going to look like the 20s crossed with steampunk. The decor, emergence of skyscrapers, metropolis-looking cherubs has a decopunk vibe that later games ignore. TDS pretended the Metal Age could be stopped, everything was gothic again, but technology can't go back in a bottle once its loose. The new thief is just a cynical reboot. I think a real Thief 4, which will never happen now, should continue the development. Maybe the lower quarters of the City would be gothic, but the higher levels would look like above pics. What do you think.

  2. #2
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Yes, the heavy influences of Art Deco and Futurism are unmistakable. Just look at Angelwatch and all the robots, etc. But it also had other styles and themes, most notably Victorian, what with all the brick buildings and the greenhouses and the decor, and the theme of industrialisation and modernisation was very prominent in T2. And Framed feels very modern noir. And there's the very Classical bank, though with some modern additions. There was a mix of styles, as any city with any amount of history should have.

    Thief was never Gothic, though. The first game was a mix of Romanesque and half-timbered buildings with some industrial steel very liberally mixed in. Gothic is way more elaborate than that -- think Anor Londo for reference. The third game had a more generic high medieval style.
    Last edited by Starker; 5th Aug 2019 at 14:33.

  3. #3
    New Member
    Registered: Aug 2019
    Location: Space Station 3
    By gothic I mean Poe stories, atmosphere. I got the impression the city was less historical, like our cities when they grow or they're bombed are remodeled, and more like Ankh-Morpork, where its a bunch of themes coming together, like the city is a stack of pancakes ascending from plain gothic (but fluffy) to a futurist crepe made for a big fat rich man at the top.

  4. #4
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Oh, if you mean Gothic as just a generic synonym for dark/grim, then sure. But as a literary style, no there wasn't really anything Gothic about Thief in that sense either. Gothic literature is more about dark brooding villains, virginal maidens in peril, and supernatural mysteries. Think Dracula, etc. Haunted castles, characters with dark pasts, madness, death, passionate love, and so on.

  5. #5
    ZylonBane
    Registered: Sep 2000
    Location: ZylonBane
    I'm pretty sure the term "decopunk" didn't even exist when Thief II (2000) came out.

  6. #6
    New Member
    Registered: Aug 2019
    Location: Space Station 3
    I don't know if the word had been invented or not. Nobody called medieval medieval until later either.

  7. #7
    ZylonBane
    Registered: Sep 2000
    Location: ZylonBane
    Quote Originally Posted by benny taffer View Post
    I don't know if the word had been invented or not.
    Then what's the point of you?

  8. #8
    Member
    Registered: May 2008
    Location: Southern,California
    two words "golden-child" is 100% pure Mechanists Decopunk

    this is where purgator finds a pic of golden child and adds it to board

  9. #9
    New Member
    Registered: Aug 2019
    Location: Space Station 3
    Quote Originally Posted by ZylonBane View Post
    Then what's the point of you?
    Pointing out your shit stinks too, I guess.

  10. #10
    New Member
    Registered: May 2018
    Location: swamp
    The magic in both thief TDP and TMA is about mixing different art styles together as one. So telling TMA is "deco-punk" it is washing away the rest of influences in TMA. If Mechanists by itself are "deco-punk", then yeah we can say that. Remember that engine was limited, and by timeline also mechanists were just a baby cult, and as baby cult they died. Not enough time and resources to fully bloom at enlightened direction Karras had in mind.

    Remember that:
    TDS was made by different team, in different engine, with lack of time and as always - money.
    The art direction there is very bland and vanilla, which can be explained by: it must be welcomed for new players, or just art director didn't had any idea with few style mixes that can works for setting and faction story is pointed.
    There is also no details or art pieces from art history hanged here and there, which build the general idea about how The City looks like at the game. Wish to say, there's no other art pieces than portrait paintings in TDS but I don't remember TDS such well, so maybe I am wrong.


    And by how people works, if something is recognizable as bad(Mechanists are bad, bad boys), people doesn't want to follow such stuff even if it's pretty, or innocent at some way. Hammerites for sure takes care of removing heretic symbols from the fresh build religious structures, the mechanic children salvaged etc. The revolutionary art style Mechanists bring to The City now is an ugly memory of the past.

    I don't understand why develop headcanons for something that should, and will never came out as 4th thief. Better to expand world we already have. Personally I would prefer a new stealth game series, with new world, mechanics, possibilities, maybe with nod to other existing series, tho still fresh.

  11. #11
    New Member
    Registered: Aug 2019
    Location: Space Station 3
    There's no theory, I just made an observation that's all.

  12. #12
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2019
    Location: Poland
    I agree, the introduction of the art-deco style mixed with steampunk in Thief 2 was one of the things that made me love the second installment of the series, and swiftly returning to the full-on medieval art style with no traces of Mechanist's influences whatsoever in T3 felt really out of place for me, aside of the fact that i found such kind of design extremely boring, compared to what we've seen in Thief 2 or even Thief 2X (with the latter striking a great balance between several styles, while the Mechanists were on their steady rise)

  13. #13
    New Member
    Registered: Mar 2012
    Answering the original question:
    Yes, I also think that Mechanists architectural and decorational style resembled Art Deco to a high degree, especially in the state-of-the-art Angelwatch project. "Metropolis" is a great reference; silent movies and Pre-Code Hollywood must have other examples of LGS inspiration behind Mechanists. As such, I believe the term "deco punk" really fits.

    Sidenote:
    Contrary to some posters, I'm not fond of this Art Deco style in T2, though I think it was a bold move on Looking Glass part. Thief 2 was no underground project, they had to take peoples' perception into account, and I bet the most ardent fans didn't see the bots, transmitters and radiowaves coming. The problem is, TDP already was an exquisite amalgam of styles (Romanesque, Classical, touches of Gothic and Victorian), so instead of adding another layer, I'd rather have them explore already established architectural identity of The City.

    There is also the suspension of disbelief. I'm willing to buy Thief as an eclectic setting with dominant Middle Ages core (clothing, wood-and-brick, stonemasonry, warfare, religiousness and society) with significant elements of other pre-Modern periods:
    - Age of Discovery (establishing new trading routes, advanced ships, exotic goods i.e. "Shipping... and Receiving")
    - Scientific Revolution (very isolated instances, such as the mad astronomer and his star charts in "Life of the Party")
    - Industrial Revolution (steam engines, limited use of electricity, slowly emerging bourgeoisie).

    It's obviously very anachronistic and "messed up" historically, probably self-contradictory even in a manufactured, alternate universe, but it's also fun, so I was always tweaking my head canon to make it all fit. And I enjoyed it thoroughly!

    But the Metal Age, with all its inventions coming up in a couple of years (and then mysteriously disappearing) is a bit much. I can enjoy it and treat it as a short-lived quirk in The City's history, but it doesn't feel like a part of "canon", in my opinion.

  14. #14
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Yes, it feels a bit like the Taishou era when Japan had been opened up to the West and got the significant developments and counter-developments and counter-counter-developments (and the accompanying improvement of living standards) all at once. That's part of the reason I like the second game so much. Plus the very strong film noir vibe.
    Last edited by Starker; 15th Jan 2020 at 08:43.

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